Afghanistan

A British Army brigadier recently admitted what we said long ago on the pages of this website: a military victory over the Taliban was “neither feasible nor supportable”. Neither side is winning and this is pushing the more realistic and serious minded strategists of capital to look at other solutions, a deal of some kind. Meanwhile the ordinary people continue to suffer.

On June 13th, Taliban fighters launched a large-scale raid on Kandahar prison. Nearly 1,200 prisoners, including 400 Taliban insurgents, were freed. Taliban forces then captured 7 towns and villages in the Arghandab region of Kandahar province. Although NATO forces subsequently regained control, these events highlight the real situation in Afghanistan, one where the Taliban are getting stronger, not weaker.

We are making available to our readers an article written by Engels on Afghanistan 150 years ago. In spite of the years that have passed the article is still relevant today. The imperialists did not understand the situation in Afghanistan then as they continue not to understand it today.

Up until recently, while Iraq was viewed as a quagmire, Afghanistan was seen as a relatively successful part of George Bush’s “War on Terror.” Now, even this silver lining is beginning to disappear.

The media in the West insist that the war in Afghanistan is against "terrorists", but a closer look shows a people resisting imperialist aggression. The country has been brought close to barbarism, but there is still potential for revolutionary developments.

Recent rioting in Kabul after a US military vehicle collided with civilian vehicles killing dozens has highlighted once again the dilemma facing the imperialists. Resentment at the presence of foreign troops is growing among the people as Taliban activities also spread.

With Iraq as the focus of world opinion, Canada, Germany, France and Italy are quietly conducting an imperialist war in Afghanistan. The recent deaths of four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan highlight the need to oppose the intervention.

After three and a half years of US occupation, peace, stability, and freedom are restricted in the presidential enclave behind huge concrete blocks in Kabul. Here is where Mr. Karzai resides. American mercenaries guard him, advised or dictated to, whatever you may call it, by American diplomats and instructed by the State Department in Washington.

A number of activists of the Iranian Revolutionary Socialists’ League and the Jed-o Jahd organisation of Pakistan, as well as a section of the revolutionary socialists of Afghanistan, have come together to publish a new joint Marxist paper, an essential tool in the task of spreading the ideas of genuine Marxism in the region. The Farsi text is available in pdf format, with an English version of the articles also available for non Farsi readers.

This is an article from the current Asian Marxist Review on the Loya Jirga, an ancient pre-feudal tradition that is being resurrected by the imperialists to give an illusion of democracy in Afghanistan and to justify their aggression and the rule of their puppets.

The US and coalition forces have been chasing their own shadows for the last few months in Afghanistan without achieving any tangible results. Increasingly frustrated, the US forces are lashing out in all directions, in the vain hope of killing "the enemy". So far the only people killed have been civilians and US allies.

Alan Woods takes a look at the unsuccessful military exploits of the British expeditionary force that Tony Blair so enthusiastically sent to Afghanistan, hoping to take on Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

"Inaction is not an option," declares George W. Bush, seeking to extend the "war on terror" to Iraq. But the recent heavy fighting between US and Afghan forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan gives the lie to those who say the war is over. It is dawning on the military strategists that victory cannot be won by air power alone, and combat troops will be required on the ground for some time to come. However, using Afghan forces has proved complicated, as the warlords - newly armed by the Americans - seek to reassert their influence.

This well researched book was written (by Ahmed Rashid) before the events of September 11th 2001. The author is a journalist who has worked in Afghanistan since 1979. It has been described by The Guardian as the book which is being read by Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell, who allegedly have been heavily influenced by the book. Do not let that deter you from reading this book! It remains to be seen if they have really been influenced by it.

It was quite amusing to hear the reports on the radio that a column of American tanks was advancing on Kandahar. Since this glorious advance only took place after Kandahar had surrendered, this must have been the most painless "triumphal advance" in the history of warfare! This little incident is a good example of the kind of surrealism that has characterised this campaign from the beginning. Predictably, the Americans are shouting victory as loud as they can. Despite all the triumphalism, the real situation becomes clear if we ask ourselves concretely what has been achieved?

"The Marines have landed and the situation is under control." This kind of headline was very common in the 1930s, when the USA had a habit of intervening with tedious regularity in the territory of small states in Central America. Now history seems to be repeating itself - but with a difference. The marines referred to here are, of course, American. While the US marine corps is grabbing the headlines of the world press, a couple of hundred British marines are kicking their heels on the outskirts of Bagram airstrip, while a couple of thousand of their comrades are kept hanging around on army bases in Britain, unloved and unwanted, while Tony Blair fumes in impotent humiliation.

The situation in Afghanistan after the dramatic fall of Kabul continues to give the British and Americans a headache. Washington is still trying to improvise a coherent strategy, making up its policy as it goes along. Bush's lackey, Tony Blair is having trouble keeping step. An update on the war by Alan Woods.

In the Saturday (November 17) issue of the Jang - the biggest daily paper in Pakistan, the well-known columnist Munnoo Bhai published extensive extracts from Alan's article The fall of Kabul with the comment that this is the "best analysis one can find anywhere". The Jang newspaper is read by up to 20 million people every day, and Munnoo Bhai's column is widely read.

Afghanistan is full of surprises. And what surprise could be bigger than the lightening advance of the Northern Alliance over the last seven days? In less than a week, Taliban forces have been swept from most of northern Afghanistan, including the key cities of Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kunduz, Taloqan, Bamiyan, Jalalabad and the capital Kabul. The question is: How did a force that only two months ago controlled most of Afghanistan get swept from the battlefield so quickly, and is the battle over?